The United States Department of Energy, and the office of the President are pushing for a new form of electrical power distribution; a National Smart Grid. Electrician Fayetteville NC has been following closely to the ever changing trends when it comes to electrical advancements so that we can provide the best possible quality service to our clients in Fayetteville, NC.
Brad Gammons, vice president, IBM Global Energy and Utilities stated at the Clean Energy Venture Summit, “We're sitting on an aged, old infrastructure while emerging countries like India and China are moving to the next generation of networks and generation sources."
Our Aged National Power Grid
The nation’s aging and fragile power distribution grid struggles to meet the electrical supply needs of our society. The main problem is that electrical power on this scale must be used as it is generated; it is not stored as a hedge against a spike in usage later.
Likewise, when a spike in usage occurs, the power plants generating the power must scale up production to meet the higher demand. If they can not ramp up production quickly enough, brown-outs or rolling black-outs result. Most power generation networks keep a few “peaker plants” in their system to help generate power during an expected high demand period, but they are costly to run and can not be brought online quickly enough to prevent power drop-outs during an unexpected spike in demand.
Smart Grid Advantages
The National Smart Power Grid would allow all the nation’s power distribution grids to work cooperatively to respond to the electrical power needs of the country. If a sudden demand spike occurred in New York on a hot summer day, power could be drawn from a low demand area, perhaps Montana to meet that temporary increase.
While the nation’s current, aged power grids are interconnected and can sell power to neighboring grids, the technology in place can not handle sudden shifts in demand nor can it handle the kilowatt load that would be required to affect this system.
A smart electrical power distribution grid will use a number of new technologies to solve the problem. As one industry expert at the Clean Energy Venture Summit stated, “It’s not a silver bullet, more like silver buckshot.”
In a nutshell, high capacity electrical transmission corridors must be established as power expressways linking the major distribution centers. Automated Demand Response (ADR) switching centers will monitor demands around the country and shunt power from low demand areas to high demand areas. Likewise, the distribution centers will monitor and supply power around their region to suit demand. The advantages of such a system are obvious. There are, however, four basic and immediate problems with this plan.
Smart Grid Problems
1) The biggest problem is that the technology needed must be installed, nation wide, while the nations current power grid is up and running – full tilt.
2) The technology needed is not cheap and, with few exceptions, utility companies are notoriously reluctant to risk big bucks on new technologies because doing so means having to borrow through municipal bonds or raise rates to their customers – or both.
3) The nation’s power grid is made up of separate and individually owned electrical cooperatives, getting all of them to adopt a uniform set of standards and a unified costing model is difficult.
4) The end result is going to include smart technology that will reach inside customer’s homes and is often seen by customers as an invasion of their privacy and personal rights.
Stepping Stones to the Smart Grid
The first step of this in-home smart technology is, in many places, mounted on the outside of customer’s home right now: smart meters. These electric meters were touted to customers for their ability to be read remotely by the utility company, so a meter reader would not need to come to their home. These meters also allow the electric utility to monitor the amount of electricity being used by any individual home, collection of homes or region of the county at any given time. This ability helps the utility company monitor trends in usage and to predict demand peaks.
The next phase is the web enabled smart home, where electric utility companies can monitor and control power consumption by various appliances within the home. The purpose is to be able to reduce consumption in areas in immediate danger of a power drop-out. Some utility districts are testing smart homes by offering customers incentive rates for participating.
The Power Line Bottom Line
Consumer advocacy groups are mobilizing to prevent the construction of smart grids, decrying an infringement of individual rights and citing the fact that electric rates for customers in cities where smart grids have been implemented have risen sharply.
Industry experts explain that while costs may increase over the short term; as the grid is being implemented on a national scale, they will be reduced when the project is finished and the national smart grid is fully implemented. The system will also reward energy conscious homes. If you need electrical repair needs around Fayetteville NC, call us today at (910) 407-5678 for free quote today.